Congress gives nod to nanotechnology
- By Paula Shaki Trimble
- Nov 05, 2000
The fate of the president's National Nanotechnology Initiative was uncertain
throughout the budget process as the funding for long-term research on ways
to control materials on the atomic level came up against near-term problems
such as veterans' benefits and housing. But the initiative emerged mostly
intact in the end.
Of the total $495 million request for NNI, funding at the six participating
agencies including the lead agency, the National Science Foundation totaled $423 million for fiscal 2001. The NNI request was a $225 million
increase from the funding received in fiscal 2000.
"The important thing was getting the science community out to support
it," said a White House staff member. "That made the difference."
The difference was seen particularly at the Energy Department, where
most of the NNI budget in the Office of Science was eliminated early on.
But supporters of NNI managed to convince Congress that basic science is
an important part of a balanced research portfolio, the White House staff
member said. NIST tends to have difficulty getting funding for new scientific
and technological research because the agency's budget is included in the
bill for the departments of Commerce, Justice and State, agencies not oriented
Of particular concern is language in the conference report for NSF that
expresses appropriators' concerns that NSF cannot lead two multiyear, multiagency
initiatives Information Technology Research (ITR) and NNI with limited
George Strawn, executive officer of NSF's Computer and Information Science
and Engineering Directorate, said Congress should look at the success of
ITR as a model for how NSF could coordinate NNI.
The directorate accepted double the proposals it received for ITR the
previous year with only modest increases in resources, Strawn said. "This
year, our goal is to institutionalize our gains," he said.
How nanotechnology fared in the budget
|NIST||$18 million||$10 million
|DOD||$110 million||$110 million
|DOE||$94 million||$93 million
|NASA||$20 million||$21 million
|NIH||$36 million||$39 million
|NSF||$216.7 million||$150 million